Ynet learned Friday that the Foreign Press Association in Israel had met to discuss a new PR website's commercials, which many journalists say represent them as "stupid".
At the conclusion of the meeting the members decided not to appeal to Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein, but rather to report in their own countries about the distorted representation. The UK's Telegraph and Reuters also published critiques of the ads.
'Using ancient cooking methods, such as coal'
"Foreign correspondents are depicted as ignorant and gullible in a new series of spoof videos by the Israeli government," says a Telegraph byline on the new campaign aimed at getting Israelis to improve their country's image in the world.
FPA Chairman Conny Mus told Ynet that "the campaigners should have thought more carefully about not presenting us as stupid, which I don't think we are".
He said the ads would only aggravate further the tension between Israel and foreign journalists "already facing an unfriendly working atmosphere which does not fit with a democratic state".
Despite his complaints, Mus said the reporters would not take it up with the government but rather "use our tool and report about it". He added that it was not an especially good campaign, and that it would not be taken seriously.
Thus, Reuters's Douglas Hamilton published an article on the subject Thursday morning. "I did what I had to do," he said, explaining that people who saw the ads said they made foreign journalists appear ridiculous and that he believed this was a false representation of their work.
"Besides mocking foreign journalists, the clips imply that Europeans – tens of thousands of whom fly in annually to enjoy Tel Aviv beaches, see the Holy Land, and do business here – are ignorant enough to swallow any preposterous image of Israel," Hamilton wrote.
But Minister Edelstein was dismissive of the claims. "Like any other campaign, this is a grotesque satire, and every citizen understands that it's only satire," he was quoted by Hamilton as saying.
"No one I have talked to from the foreign press has told me they were offended by the clips. They are not about foreign correspondents or their audience. The aim is to give Israelis the tools to create a new atmosphere where Israel is not represented as the ultimate evil."